I’ve written before about my travel adventures and how, just maybe, I’m not the most fun travel companion you’ll ever come across. For example there’s Neckties, Nausea and Nudists and Karma’s a Bitch, Man.
Last week, Husband and I traveled to the mountains of Colorado for a free ski trip, provided by our daughter, Alison. Although I’ve only taken one lesson and that was fifteen years ago, I had it it my head that I’d look something like this.
Okay, maybe I didn’t have a matching ski suit like the woman in this picture, but I did manage to pull together something. A pair of pants that my husband had outgrown and a jacket that was a hand-me-down from my friend, Mary.
So, instead of looking like a Ski Bunny, I ended up looking like a Ski Lump.
But, I was fairly warm and courageously optimistic that things were going to go as planned.
We took the gondola to the top of the mountain. Husband waited with five-year-old granddaughter to begin our swooshing down the slopes, as soon as I’d finished a few practice turns.
Because I’m not a complete idiot, I started out on the bunny slope, along with Alison and our three-year-old grandson. Four trips down the slight decline and up the magic carpet with the other toddlers, and I was ready for my first run.
Husband and five-year-old took off. I studied them as they glided gracefully one direction, then slid into a turn and coasted the other way.
I gave a push with my poles and, full-speed-ahead, skidded out of control — straight for a snow cliff. Everything I knew about stopping, flew right out of my head. I tried helicoptering my arms in backward circles but, oddly, that didn’t work. So, I did what I know best. I fell down. Not in a graceful way, mind you. But, in a, “how did you get your skis in that position/I didn’t know your legs could do that” kind of way. A nice snowboarder stopped and released the skis from my boots so I could untie my legs.
Not to worry. I’m a trooper. I got up and tried again. And again. When I asked five-year-old how she thought her Mimi was doing, she only frowned and shook her head.
Somewhere along the way, as I crept down the slope in snowplow position, the world began to spin around me, my clothing felt too tight for me to breathe and I was pretty sure I was going to throw up. I paused at a tiny flat area and told Husband I thought it was time for me to give up.
Here’s the thing about skiing. You can’t just quit in the middle. There’s no way to get off the mountain, except to ski down.
Talking with the ski patrol, we came up with a plan. I’d have to make one more short run toward a ski lift. The open air lift would take us up the mountain, so that we could catch the enclosed gondola, that would take us to the bottom of the mountain.
“Short run” was all I needed to hear. I bent my knees, tucked myself into race position and skied straight down the slope. I then stumbled onto the ski lift where five-year-old suggested to Husband that he might want to put the safety bar down in case Mimi fell off.
The higher we went, the more the world spun around me and the harder it was to breathe. I gritted my teeth and made it to the gondola, then managed to make it to ground level without spilling my guts. I struggled the hundred yards from the gondola to the condo and spread out on the bathroom floor.
Twenty minutes later, Husband came in and looked down at me. “Do you think I should take you to the emergency room?”
[Darth Vader Voice] – “Yeeessssss.”
I returned from the emergency room, not with a sexy issue, like a broken leg that would enable me to sit around the fire pit telling and retelling the story about my wild run down a black diamond slope…
but, with Acute Altitude Sickness.
It required that I walk around with a plastic tube stuck up my nose and toting around a green metal canister on wheels.
I couldn’t even approach the broken leg people to share my story at the fire pit, for fear I’d blow them all up.